Saturday, October 18, 2008

UW-Iowa: One Moment

Turning points, turning points. Although the quarterbacking and the offense continued to look anemic, a few minutes into the second half, Wisconsin had crawled back into the game. Two three and outs forced by the defense, two punts giving the Badgers good field position, two excellent field goals by Welch. A fourteen point lead had been trimmed to 5. The defense was rolling, Sherer had actually completed a couple of solid passes, although the offense still couldn't overcome its mistakes to get in the end zone. But the team had some confidence. You thought, "Maybe they made some serious halftime adjustments and can get back into this game."

After the kickoff, Iowa first down at the thirty, Iowa runs a playaction rollout, their QB throws incomplete. But a flag plops down at the end of the play. Casillas, running over from the middle and pressuring the passer, had gotten there a second too late. He made the fatal mistake of shoving Stanzie, instead of just letting his momentum bump him. Stanzie cooperated and flew over, drawing the flag. Fifteen yard penalty, first down at the 45 for Iowa. Three plays later, their running back (who had ever heard of him until this game?) busted off a 52 yard touchdown. Lead is back to double digits, and given Wisconsin's sputtering offense and neophyte QB, game over.

The sad things are that it didn't matter and that Casillas knew better. Casillas had already forced a rushed pass, that fell incomplete. UW had won the down. There was no point to the shove except to injure or intimidate Stanzi. And Casillas knows, I'm sure, that he should have pulled up. He's a veteran, he wants to win as bad as anybody. I think he did it because he's frustrated and upset, and when that happens, if you're not a quitter (and we all know Casillas is no quitter), you press too hard. You try to make too much happen at once instead of playing solid and waiting for your moments. Anyhow, that turned the game, sealing the loss once and for all. Tough nuts.

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